As well as working as a community or hospital pharmacist, a pharmacy degree can lead to roles within academia, the pharmaceutical industry and with regulatory bodies
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Clinical research associate
- Higher education lecturer
- Medical sales representative
- Medical science liaison
- Physician associate
- Product/process development scientist
- Regulatory affairs officer
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Science writer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Pharmacy degrees include placements that give you experience in a range of pharmacy settings. It's still good however, to get your own work experience on top of this to show potential employers that you're enthusiastic and that you can apply your skills in the workplace.
Getting experience in a local pharmacy that gives you exposure to working with prescriptions and drugs is helpful. Many retail pharmacy chains offer summer placement programmes and some employers will recruit their pre-registration trainees from these.
You could also find experience in a hospital pharmacy, although this may be unpaid work shadowing and last from a few days to a few weeks.
There may also be some opportunities to do a placement with a pharmaceutical company, depending on your areas of interest.
You could also become a student member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) which provides access to resources, networking opportunities and support throughout your studies.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
It is possible to work within two main areas of pharmacy:
- community pharmacy: including large retail chains, independent pharmacies, small or medium-sized chain stores, GP surgeries or health centres.
- hospital pharmacy: both within the NHS and private hospitals.
Once you're a qualified pharmacist you can also work as a locum (temporary replacement) pharmacist, either on a self-employed basis or through an agency.
You can also find work as a pharmacy graduate with pharmaceutical companies or food and drink companies, in areas such as research and development, quality assurance, marketing, sales and management.
Other types of employers include:
- the armed services - you can work as a military pharmacist for the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force
- universities and research institutions - for a career as an academic pharmacist
- veterinary pharmacy practices - you can work as a veterinary pharmacist for specialist practices, university veterinary schools, the pharmaceutical industry, and government departments and agencies such as the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.
Skills for your CV
A pharmacy degree provides you with subject specific skills, including:
- knowledge of facts and theories relating to the discovery, design, development, manufacture and delivery of medicines
- knowledge of the properties and clinical uses of medicines
- how patients react to the medicines they take
- the ability to communicate effectively with patients and other health professionals
- production of pharmacy-specific scientific documentation
- operation of pharmaceutical instrumentation
- knowledge of the law and ethical concerns relating to the supply of medicines
- analysis of medicines
- an understanding of individual patient care and issues relating to public health.
You also develop a range of skills that are attractive to employers in other sectors as well. These include:
- interpersonal and communication skills
- the ability to work well as part of a team
- numeracy and computation
- critical evaluation and research skills
- problem-solving skills and the ability to think clearly and methodically
- time management and organisational skills
- commercial awareness.
Only small numbers of pharmacy graduates go on to further study directly after graduation. This is because a pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not needed to practise as a pharmacist and is rarely advantageous when applying for jobs within the profession.
However, if you want a career in scientific research and development you can study for an MSc or PhD in fields such as pharmacy, prescribing and drug discovery and development, or in biomedical or chemical sciences.
If you're considering pursuing a career outside of pharmacy you can undertake a relevant vocational or postgraduate course to provide the necessary skills and knowledge.
What do pharmacy graduates do?
The majority (78%) of pharmacy graduates working in the UK 15 months after graduation are working as health professionals.
|Working and studying||9.9|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Clerical, secretarial and adminstrative||2.2|
|Business, HR and finance||0.9|
Find out what other graduates are doing after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.